Good lighting is the key to success not only for photographers, but also for those who shoot video. Of course, filming video can forgive some lighting flaws, but if you want people to watch your videos from start to finish, good lighting is essential.
In this article, we will discuss the main types of lighting for aspiring videographers and vloggers. We have already partially touched on this issue in another article, but here we will delve into the topic of lighting, which is suitable not only for shooting in the format of a selfie blog or product reviews, but also for the initial requests of any videographer.
Two- and three-point lighting
Three-point lighting is the standard for most types of filming.
- The main (key, drawing) light source: the strongest, it gives most of the light in the frame. It is usually placed in front of the subject, about 45 degrees above and 45 degrees to the right or left.
- Fill Light: This is a softer light used to fill in the shadows on the subject’s face. It must be placed on the side, opposite the main light. The intensity of the fill light is usually about half that of the main light.
- Backlight: This light illuminates the subject from behind. It creates depth and provides a soft glow in the background. The source is located above and behind the object (out of frame). There is also a backlight option where the back light illuminates the background rather than the subject itself.
There are just three sources in the Raylab Solar 3B continuous light kit, which allows you to use this classic scheme. In addition to three fluorescent illuminators, the set has two stands and a crane, thanks to which you can position the lamps at the desired angle. And three softboxes will make the light more like daylight, we will dwell on softboxes in more detail below.
If you’re just getting started with lighting or are on a tight budget, you can get away with the two-point light option, which only has a main light and a fill light. Although backlighting and background lighting add some depth to the scene, this is not a prerequisite for shooting. The Raylab Solar 2 continuous light kit is a good starter option for this kind of lighting. Unlike the previous kit, it does not have a third light and a crane stand, nevertheless it is an interesting option to start.
In the future, you can always buy a third source and use it as background light.
Of course, there are other ways to arrange lighting, but this is one of the basic options.
If you are shooting outdoors or indoors with large windows, you can use natural light. Photographers and filmmakers adore the golden hour in the early morning and evening before sunset for its beautifully soft lighting.
But the sun can be too bright, casting harsh shadows on the subject. In addition, it moves by changing the direction of the light, and its intensity changes depending on the cloudiness. All of these can affect the quality of the light and give you different material. In addition, in winter, when it gets dark early, you may simply not have time to shoot everything you wanted.
Many natural light videographers like to use a variation of the three-point lighting scheme described above. The subject is placed so that the sun is the main source, and reflectors are used for fill and backlight.
When the light is softer (for example, during the “golden hour”) the sun can be placed behind the object as a backlight, and reflectors are placed in place of the main and fill sources. In this version, you need to work quickly, until the light changes its pattern.
Ring lighting is a simple and affordable option for close-up selfie vlogs.
These are simple, affordable and beautiful sources that create uniform light. To start work, you need to place the camera lens in the center of the ring and point it at the model’s face. If you’re shooting with a smartphone, many lights come with a mount in or near the center of the ring.
Ring lights create a minimum of shadows and allow you to get an even skin tone. An interesting feature is the beautiful round halos that they create in the reflection of the eyes of the model.
The Raylab RL-0618 Ring Light comes with a stand, selfie mirror and central smartphone holder. This allows you to start shooting immediately, without the need to purchase additional equipment.
Light for product photography
If you are shooting video reviews of small products, you can also get by with a single light source. Photographers often use lightboxes and special tables for product shooting, but for video this equipment will be redundant. Compact LED illuminators can be placed directly on the table, while the brightness of such devices will be much higher than that of conventional table lamps.
Raylab F002 LED illuminator is equipped with folding legs: it can be placed on any flat surface and point the illuminator at the product that you talk about in your video review. It can also be used as a backlight for portrait angles — the power is enough.
Quite often, LED panels are used for video shooting. Depending on the size, they can be mounted on a stand or on a camera shoe. Such panels can be used as the main light, or can be used to shoot video on the go.
LED panels provide constant illumination and usually allow you to adjust the color temperature. Many models allow you to mount additional modifiers and accessories on them, including filters and softboxes.
Softbox — allows you to soften the light from any fixtures: you get lighting that resembles light from a window. To start a career, you can get by with one powerful light source with a softbox and a reflector.
For example, by attaching a softbox to a Raylab RL-100 Sunlight 5600K LED light with a Bowens universal mount, you will get a fairly bright main light source. It should be positioned 45 degrees from the subject to the right or left of the camera. It is recommended to additionally place a reflector to the side or slightly behind the object to soften the shadows. However, for a more interesting and professional lighting pattern, it is recommended to use the three-source scheme that we talked about above.
Stabilization and additional equipment
Of course, to get a high-quality picture, you need not only good lighting. Another critical requirement for professional-quality video is its smoothness.
Steadicams can be used to capture footage on the go, and a tripod is required for shooting from a single point.
Choosing a tripod depends entirely on your needs: for simple selfie blogging, stability is the only important requirement. Otherwise, you can choose any model you like.
For more complex camera work, when the camera is not aimed at one point, as well as for location shooting, etc. suitable for special tripods for video. So the Raylab RL-8018FS model is equipped with a head that allows you to rotate the camera 360 degrees horizontally, as well as tilt it forward and backward at angles from ‑70 to +90 degrees. The device can withstand weight up to 5 kg, which allows it to be used with heavier DSLRs and professional camcorders.
To make it easier to move stands and tripods, you can use special wheels for stands and carts.
You may also need a studio stand to mount lighting. And if you want to fix the illuminator on top of the object — a crane. To learn how to choose the right rack, you can read in our article.
The quality of lighting is one of the key factors when creating a video. A classic option that will suit videographers and vloggers who care about the beauty of the picture is a lighting scheme with three sources. Natural light can be used as the primary source, but is less predictable than artificial lighting. For a number of scenarios, one light source is also quite suitable: a ring light for beauty bloggers, a tabletop LED light for product reviews, and a camera light for shooting on the go.
Softboxes can help soften harsh lighting, which can be worn on one or several sources at once.
In conclusion, I would like to note that the search for a suitable lighting option is determined, first of all, by practice. Only based on your requests, with the help of trial and error (unfortunately, nowhere without them), you can choose a scheme that best suits you and your audience.